|From the WTIT facebook page.|
We do not know why this question popped into our brain today, but it did. We thought it would give me a chance to tell you something about some of our friends (other than me) who were or are WTIT DJs.
JUMPING JOHNNIE WALKER started recording in 1968 and is still a WTIT DJ today. Johnnie can do it all. He has been our WTIT News Anchor since 1985. His biggest talent, besides just having a great sense of humor are his dialects. Johnnie can literally do ANY accent. My favorite example of this was in a show called “The Horrid Experiment”. Johnnie playing a female introduces himself as “Juanita” to a guy she meets. In the middle of the bit his accent shifted from Spanish to Italian. Without missing a beat Johnnie said, “I donno wotts going on. Sometimes I’m Spanish and sometimes I’m Italian. I think I’ll be Italian.” To which Billy, playing the part of the boy she just met merely said, “I do like meatballs”. Johnnie is still one of my best friends to this day. Johnnie is one of the six of us who have recorded in our current studio, Studio 33 1/3 which opened in January of 2012. Johnnie will be my best man at my wedding to Kathy on 20 October 2012. Between recording and celebrations, almost every main WTIT DJ over the years has been in our Studio 33 1/3.
THE COSMIC COMMANDO joined WTIT in 1985. He was on the first tape of the modern era, so he met (only once) Bouncing Billy during that recording session. He then really took over Bill’s spot in our new line-up. Cos became the Weather reporter during our newscasts. My favorite line of his was, “Tomorrow will be so bad that a hole will open in the planet that will suck every living creature into the molten lava in the center of the Earth. The outlook for this weekend: Sunny and pleasant.” Cos also called himself the WTIT Science Editor. He would always tell us a scientific equivalent for the tape number on which we were recording. Cos’ most recent appearance was at the 30th Anniversary Party in 1997. Cos attended Bud’s 60th birthday party and his wedding to Kathy on October 20, 2012. He is in our yearly photos (in addition to his years recording) in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2011 & 2012. He attended Bud’s wedding to Kathy on October 20, 2012.
ROCK ROLLING join WTIT shortly after our 20th Anniversary in 1987. He is still recording with us and now has been at WTIT 20 years himself. Rock has done some great work with us. He does the “Commentary” on the WTIT Newscasts. He general can tangle an issue to such a degree that he will asks listeners to write to him and explain his own view. After giving a very strong view he might say “but I am not really sure, and I could be wrong.” Rock has the private eye character that he named “Dain Bramage”. Naturally he is a bumbling detective and is a great piece of Rock’s arsenal. Rock is also a musician who has recorded with Jeff Pevar. Rock has written a lot of jingles that WTIT uses in its “ad spoofs”. Rock is one of the six of us who have recorded in our current studio, Studio 33 1/3 which opened in January of 2012.
THE MIDNIGHT PLOWBOY is Rock’s younger brother. He is simply the most talented DJ that has ever recorded. He can do it all. He is also a musician. Midnight is the only member who has directed shows other than I. Midnight does do accents well and almost immediately understood Tape Radio without much help. He recorded on WTIT from 1988 to 1996. He played a Greek visitor in WTIT’s spoof of “Bonanza”. I played Ben Cartright and asked Hoss to make sure two of the servants were out of the guest room, implying they were having a homosexual affair. Midnight as the Greek said, “No Ben. Why don’t you and I do it. It will remind me of home.” Midnight phoned in a guest appearance in 2007 during the recording of our 40th Anniversary Show. In October of 2012 Midnight returned to record WTIT’s 45th Anniversary Show. Midnight is in the 2012 staff pic attending Bud and Kathy’s wedding on October 20, 2012. Since then he has returned to every session.
BOUNCING BILLY BREWER recorded with WTIT from its very first tape in 1967 through our first tape of what I refer to as the current era (or that might be error) in 1985. It was a big night. WTIT was relaunching with The Cosmic Commando. We asked Billy to join us, either to return or just help Cos. We never heard from Billy again after that night. Or so we thought. Billy’s primary years were 1967 to 1976. Billy had a ironic wit. He was the king of the “aside” joke. Sometimes it wasn’t until we heard the tape played that we realized what Billy had said. Billy was always very funny. An example of this was once while we were recording, Bill need to use the lavatory. He simply said, “I gotta go call my Mom.”, got up and left. Billy and Bud recorded WTIT’s first tape. On August 23, 2013 Billy returned. He and Bud had met for drinks two weeks earlier. It was their first time together since that 1985 recording. The first Bouncing Billy Brewer was recorded 28 years after Billy’s last tape. The Gods & Goddesses must have been proud. Billy has returned, and is a current DJ again.
GALLOPING GARY TOWNSEND was with WTIT from its second tape in 1967 to our 15th Anniversary show in 1982. Gary was one of the brightest people I have ever met. He could be deadly serious when talking politics or about life. He was very clever, as well. One of my favorite series of lines Gary wrote was in a show called “The Bounty Hunter”. Gary had become sheriff in a small town when of course, the shit hit the fan. Another character (played by Billy) asked, “What are we going to do?” Gary replied, “How should I know? I knew I shouldn’t have taken this job. For that matter, I shouldn’t have taken this role.” Gary has appeared in WTIT Staff Pics (after he had stopped recording) in 1995, 2011 and 2012. Gary attended Bud’s 60th birthday party in 2011 and his wedding to Kathy on October 20, 2012.
GYPSY JOE GRILLO actually sat in for our recording sessions since we started in 1967. That first year he would be known as our “chief engineer”. He actually appeared occasionally, but did not become a DJ until he and Johnnie Walker officially joined in June of 1968. At that point (although we didn’t realize it for a couple of years), we became what has since been known as “the Original five” WTIT DJs. I met Joe in fourth grade. While we created comedy Gyps was one thing: silly. He’s played a woman (as he did as Juliet in “Romeo & Juliet”) and occasionally would forget to raise his register. He’d always have a quick quip to explain it, or just let the laughter of the rest of us subside and move on. Gyps’ final recording was in 1974. Thanks to facebook, we’re in touch. Gypsy Joe phoned in to WTIT’s 45th Anniversary Show in 2012.